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TUESDAY November 23, 2021: 'Burlesque IS BACK' by ZUMA Press award winning photographer Karen Focht: Harley riding Burlesque dancer Velvetina Taylor has spent many months mastering the art of the tease in Memphis, Tennessee. The New York native and entrepreneur holds a master's degree, but after pursuing various kinds of work in her lifetime, she says she has found what truly makes her happy and Burlesque dancing is a combination of all the things she loves. Through performers like Velvetina this old Victorian art has become new again. American burlesque shows were originally an offshoot of Victorian burlesque. The English genre had been successfully staged in New York from the 1840s. Burlesque comes from the Italian and means 'mockery.' Historically, Burlesque entertainment couldn't compete with the rising popularity of movies and nightclubs; eventually, it fizzled out. However, it saw an underground resurgence in major cities across the United States in the 1990s. Today, those interested in burlesque, with its colorful feathers, sequins and rhinestones can still follow its stars and performances, not only in Memphis but at venues and festivals around the US. Welcome to: 'Burlesque IS BACK'
© zReportage.com Story of the Week #815: TUESDAY November 23, 2021: 'Burlesque IS BACK' by ZUMA Press award winning photographer Karen Focht: Harley riding Burlesque dancer Velvetina Taylor has spent many months mastering the art of the tease in Memphis, Tennessee. The New York native and entrepreneur holds a master's degree, but after pursuing various kinds of work in her lifetime, she says she has found what truly makes her happy and Burlesque dancing is a combination of all the things she loves. Through performers like Velvetina this old Victorian art has become new again. American burlesque shows were originally an offshoot of Victorian burlesque. The English genre had been successfully staged in New York from the 1840s. Burlesque comes from the Italian and means 'mockery.' Historically, Burlesque entertainment couldn't compete with the rising popularity of movies and nightclubs; eventually, it fizzled out. However, it saw an underground resurgence in major cities across the United States in the 1990s. Today, those interested in burlesque, with its colorful feathers, sequins and rhinestones can still follow its stars and performances, not only in Memphis but at venues and festivals around the US. Welcome to: 'Burlesque IS BACK'
A Burlesque dancer prepares to perform during the 'Blue Moon Review' show created by Velvetina Taylor, that revives classic burlesque while incorporating Memphis music at the Mollie Fontaine Lounge in the historic Victorian Village.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
Wearing feathers, sequins and rhinestones a dancer prepares to perform for Velvetina Taylor's 'Blue Moon Revue' Burlesque show at the historic Mollie Fontaine Lounge in Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
An audience of mostly female fans reacts with excitement during the burlesque show at Hernando's Hide-A-Way in Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Press Wire
A Burlesque dancer flashes her feathers during the 'Blue Moon Revue' burlesque show at the historic Mollie Fontaine Lounge in Victorian Village in downtown Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
Burlesque dancer JUNO performs on stage in a flamboyant feathered outfit during the Blue Moon Revue burlesque show in Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Press Wire
Burlesque dancer ROSA LEE BLOOM (L) chats with dancers while waiting to perform at the 'Blue Moon Revue,' a classic burlesque show at the late Victorian style Mollie Fontaine Lounge in Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
Burlesque dancer VELVETINA TAYLOR in green feathers and sequins riding her Harley Davidson motorcycle in Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
A Burlesque dancer enjoys a quiet moment as she prepares to perform in Velvetina's 'Blue Moon Revue' show in Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
Checking her rear view mirror, burlesque dancer VELVETINA TAYLOR in feathers and sequins rides her Harley Davidson motorcycle in Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
FRANKIE LEFEMME collects tips from patrons as she performs in the Blue Moon Revue, a burlesque show in Memphis that features legendary Memphis music and musicians.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Press Wire
Dancers wait to perform at the 'Blue Moon Revue' a classic burlesque show at the historic Victorian style Mollie Fontaine Lounge in Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
Hidden behind a stage curtain, burlesque dancer VELVETINA TAYLOR, waits prior to performing in Velvetina's Blue Moon Revue at Hernando's Hide-A-Way in Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
Burlesque dancer with little devil horns performs for guests during the 'Blue Moon Revue' show at the historic Mollie Fontaine Lounge in downtown Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
Burlesque dancer VELVETINA TAYLOR is the producer of 'Velvetina's Blue Moon Revue' show in Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
A burlesque dancer performs with a Memphis band in Velvetina's 'Blue Moon Revue' show at Hernando's Hide-A-Way in Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
Guests enjoy drinks as a dancer flashes her feathers during the 'Blue Moon Revue' show. Velvetina's 'Blue Moon Revue' is a traditional burlesque show, performed at the swanky Mollie Fontaine Lounge in Victorian Village in downtown Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
Guests react in delight as a dancer flashes her feathers during the 'Blue Moon Revue' show at the historic Mollie Fontaine Lounge in Victorian Village in downtown Memphis.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
A Burlesque dancer steps out of her gown during the 'Blue Moon Revue' show show which revives classic burlesque while incorporating Memphis music at the Mollie Fontaine Lounge.
© Karen Focht/ZUMA Wire
Karen Pulfer Focht

Karen Pulfer Focht is an award winning photojournalist in Memphis, Tennessee who is very dedicated to the art of visual storytelling. She was recognized as one of the worlds top contemporary photographers by both Magnum and LensCulture in 2017. Karen was presented with the Society of Professional Journalists' Medallion for Distinguished Service to the American People for her documentary series on infant mortality in Memphis, 'Born to Die.' For this project, she also was awarded the Casey Foundation Medal For Meritorious Journalism. She is an independent photojournalist telling the stories of the people and places in the American South, and her work is regularly published in newspapers and magazines throughout the world.:815



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